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State Puts Raft Measures to Avert Flood Disasters

The government has assured the nation that it has taken all the necessary measures to reduce the negative impact of the rains that have caused havoc in more than 19 Counties in the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASAL) and non-ASAL areas.

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua said the rains have cut off some sections of roads in Wajir, Isiolo, Mandera, Marsabit, Tana River and, Garissa counties among others, thereby reducing access to various parts of the country.

He noted that in the last few weeks, many parts of the country have been receiving more than normal rains, which he noted has threatened the lives and livelihoods of residents living especially downstream, where several rivers have reportedly burst their banks due to rising water levels.

“Families have been displaced, especially in Northern Kenya and downstream in areas like Tana River. We face the risk of rivers breaking their banks,” he stated and urged people to be on the lookout.

Gachagua at the same time announced that the government is in the process of documenting missing persons, lost livestock, and the crops destroyed by the rains, and assured that the data will be made public once confirmed.

Speaking at Harambee House Annex on the current flood situation in the country, the DP said the government was working with other partners through the National Emergency Response Committee to reduce the negative impact of the rains.

“All necessary resources will be deployed to ensure the safety, security, and comfort of our People and their property,” he assured.

The DP cited the deployment of aircraft to evacuate the marooned families to safe grounds, and delivery of the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Examinations to areas disconnected by the damaged roads and the supply of safe and clean water, and addressing other sanitation concerns in the various rescue centres as some the measures the government has taken.

The government is also monitoring the progress of the rain patterns to avert catastrophic outcomes besides providing security response around the clock.

He said the government in collaboration with development partners, counties, and other key agencies, is distributing food that includes maize, rice, beans cooking oil, and non-food items to tens of families affected to reduce their suffering.

“We have activated multi-agency teams and mobilized technical and financial resources for easier response,” he stated.

The DP mentioned that the Emergency Response Committee is coordinating a consolidated approach for efficiency and effective action to prevent duplication of the response and to ensure that no place or person is left behind.

He said the ministries of Health and Agriculture are also on the ground monitoring the situation to prevent possible outbreaks of animal diseases, adding that mobile health facilities have been placed in areas where infrastructure has been destroyed or marooned.

To avert adverse effects, the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) is running an operation centre at the KDF Headquarters, while the Ministry of Roads and Transport is undertaking Emergency repair and rehabilitation of roads to improve access, and unclogging waterways and other drainage systems.

The DP said with weather projections pointing to possible prolonged rains up to the First Quarter of 2024, the government will share safety messaging, especially sensitization of communities living in lowlands and landslide-prone areas to evacuate to safer grounds.

“We are sharing distress call numbers to the public to ensure the people can report and ask for swift assistance in case of emergencies,” he added.

Gachagua appealed to development partners to enhance their support and the private sector to complement the government’s interventions by setting aside and dedicating more resources.

He also called upon the counties to reallocate resources for the emergency and humanitarian organizations, counties and development partners, other stakeholders, and communities to continue working as a team in order to prevent escalation of the humanitarian situation.

By Bernadette Khaduli

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